Friday, 31 May 2019

Something for the weekend - another chance to smell the roses.

Following on from Chedigny's festival, this weekend Chateau du Rivau gives us another opportunity to 'smell the roses' with its own Featival de la Rose. The chateau has 475 varieties of roses within its grounds. You are promised a weekend of  'botanical walks, creative workshops proposed by outstanding personalities of the world of the rose.

If you haven't had a chance to visit Chedigny here is a link to our photographs from this year, 2019 Chedigny roses

Thursday, 30 May 2019

A day for a good rumble in the jumble ...

We will be heading over to Ferriere-Larcon and Obterre today to check out their annual 'l'Acension' brocantes - normally a good event. A 'brocante' or 'vide grenier' here in France is equivalent to a 'car-boot sale' or 'jumble sale' in the UK or 'yard/garage sale' in the US.   

I like the description of 'jumble' as 'an untidy collection or pile of things' which is apt for the way some stall holders present their wares.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

For our eyes only...


Still plodding away with my wall building behind the Old Walnut Mill - above are example of the peonies and roses that guests do not get to see as we do not allow access at the moment...for obvious reasons,hopefully next season!

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Brocantes, breakages and predictive text...

At Sunday's brocante at Port de Piles  I found an interesting lamp at almost the first stall we visited,so rather than carry it for the rest of the treasure search I ask the lady to hold on to it until we were on our way out. When we got back it was her husband who was manning the stall and promptly handed it over telling me as the shade was very delicate he had taken it off - perhaps being inspired by the paper he wrapped it in. Unfortunately once I got it home I managed to pull it out of the bag with the lamp and dropped it...confirming its delicate nature!   

It was a large brocante with 'treasure; spread almost the complete length of Rue Jules Boisseau. 

Monday, 27 May 2019

Back to nature with Tim & Pauline at the 'Pré de la Forge'

Yesterday Pauline and I headed over to the 'Pré de la Forge' to view Tim & Pauline's contribution to the 'Fete de la Nature'. We had a pleasant stroll through their meadow where Tim has cut pathways through the natural habitat.

He was on hand to answer questions and share his knowledge around his excellent display of wild life photographs, they have to be commended for their efforts.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Race dates...

Above are the dates for this year's races at La Roche Posay

It can make for a good day out.

You can sample the atmosphere here 
and here

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Wall to wall wall and punishment excercises!

With our current gap between guests at our vacation rental, the Old Walnut Mill in Barrou, we have had access to the back garden of the house where I am continuing with the facing of the back block wall with stone and Pauline is doing her bit with making sure the garden is kept under control plus doing a little planting.

What I am coming to the realization of is that after having been selective in the choice of stones I have used so far (against my own advice - pick up a stone and use it ) the top half of the wall could end up being rather ugly!! 

Pauline shared a memory from 5 years ago.
5 years ago

The other day on Facebook Pauline was reminded of how long these stones have been around! Having moved them twice, Pauline has been (rightly) keen for me to use them as two (undeserved) punishment exercises is quite enough!

Note for potential guests: We do not open up rear garden to guests at moment but are working towards (at last) providing this option. Instead you can enjoy the cottages lovely courtyard.

Friday, 24 May 2019

Return to the randonnee and more pleasant surprises!

Pauline and I returned to walking with our local randonnee club yesterday after missing quite a few weeks due to work commitments and the weather. The walk was around the small village of Esves-le-Moutier

It was good to get back into the swing of things!

It was a hot sunny day but fortunately the walk offered a mix of open countryside and shade. 


A couple of pleasant surprises was a walk past this lovely property Les Brandelles which had been used as a convalescence hospital during the first world war but is now a beautiful house, which happens to have a public right-of-way passed its front door!

Image result for les-brandelles Esves-le-Moutier

The other was arriving at the source of the river Esves...a magical place (more on this later)

Is chivalry dead? this image seems to ask but it was only after the ladies had vacated the bench that the men took their turn!

It was a lovely relaxing walk where all was calm...and colourful.

We even had a peek in the church which for me was a return visit having featured it as one of my 'Church on Sundays' way back in 2013.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

A little bit of history...

We had intended working in the garden last Saturday after our guests left the Old Walnut Mill but the rain put paid to that so we returned to La Guerche for the afternoon and had a rare afternoon to relax. It is not as if we don't have anything to do at 'the project' but we are now in a position where can decide when and if. What I decided to do was connected to our house here - when emptying the attic of what was the former grocer's shop I had found empty bottles, crates and packaging which I decided to keep a hold of (as if Pauline is not stufficating enough?) and use in some way as a homage to the former use of the house. Above is a collage of some of the packaging which now hangs in our office which was formerly part of the shop.  

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

First strawberries - last lunch

Invited to join our friends and neighbours Pauline and Denis in Barrou for lunch on Monday. We are working in the garden at the Old Walnut Mill as no guests this week and it was their last lunch before heading back to the UK yesterday. We ate alfresco with part of our contribution being the first strawberries of the season from our garden - yummy!

Tuesday, 21 May 2019


Came across a new phenomini here in the Creuse valley...scarecars - old wrecks planted in the middle of fields to deter the birds. Cheaper and less noisy than a bird scarers perhaps.

Monday, 20 May 2019

More pleasant Chambon

We visited the brocante at Chambon yesterday on a rather dull day which affected the number of stall holders but we had the pleasure of being shown around a wonderful 15th century house by a local artist who has his studio there.

It was like stepping back in time!

With it being so quiet from a stalls point of view we headed over to the racecourse at La Roche Posay to check theirs out...similar sort of affair but was good to get out and about and meet friends doing the same thing.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Barrou as part of a grand tour...

We said goodbye to our Australian guests on Saturday, they had visited us as part of a seven week trip that has taken them to Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Netherlands, Belgium and here in France. As they left they were kind enough to say that their stay at the Old Walnut Mill had been the highlight of their trip so far! 
Here is their comment from our guestbook:
18th May 2019
Thank you Jim & Pauline for providing such a lovely cottage for our stay - a real 'home away from home'. We appreciated having a few essentials in the fridge on our arrival, the outdoor area that was alive with blooms, a really comfy bed ( we'd like to take it home with us), a well equipped kitchen and all the 'mod cons'. We have loved wandering the Loire Valley and coming back each night to such a welcoming home.
Your warm hospitality deserves a special welcome. Jim, you are the best travel guide ever! Your suggestions made all the difference in what we were able to see and do. Pauline thank you for your kindness. It was such a pleasure to get to know you both.

Jan & Richard Smith

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Pleasant surprises...

On our way back from Chedigny on Thursday we made a slight detour to a village we had never visited  just outside of Loches. The village of Ferrière-sur-Beaulieu is one of those places you see signposted but never visit as there is no need to go through it to get anywhere else. It is small but has a lovely little church and a surprisingly large restaurant, 'La halte forestière', for the size of the village.

As we had arrived at midday we decided to try it out for lunch. It was typical of lunchtime menus here in Touraine but very tasty and at 13 euros for three courses plus wine plus coffee, excellent value. We got talking to the friendly lady who served us and explained that we would have liked to have seen inside the church but it was locked and the Mairie was closed exceptionally so we could not ask for the key. She said that was not a problem as the adjont to the maire was having lunch in the restaurant and she would ask if he could help. As we were leaving he interrupted his lunch to go and open up the church and asked us to close the door behind us as we kind was he?  

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Roses preview for our Australian guests.

Our current Australian guests at the Old Walnut Mill are leaving on Saturday for the next part of their seven week European tour so will miss the Rose Festival at Chedigny. They took our advise and had a sneak preview yesterday after visiting Loches market. The images here are theirs.

They were kind enough to say that the climbing rose in our courtyard would give some of them a run for their money!